Last week I had the pleasure of attending a rehearsal for “Godspell,” presented by Summit Theatre Group, and the energy in the room was just electrifying. It made me miss one of my greatest loves.
And yes theat re. For me, the ‘re’ spelling makes it more authentic. It has attitude. It says … I entertain, I’m cultural and fancy.
As a kid I participated in summer theatre camps, festivals and talent shows. In high school, I was in every play and musical on the schedule.
Musicals were especially my forté. I loved getting to ham it up on stage, and I always had fun playing a big character. I’ve had roles ranging from an elephant in “Noah’s Ark” to Fastrada in “Pippin.” My favorite part I played in high school was Miss Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls.” She was such a fantastic character and I played her with a thick New York accent, which was a blast.
Watching rehearsal last week, I was reminded of what I love most about live theatre. The show is a culmination of each person’s creativity. Each character brings its own flavor to the mix, and the show grows into a unique dish that isn’t always the same as the night before. Sometimes an actor sings a song with stronger emotion. Sometimes a character drops a line and another covers it seamlessly.
Teamwork is the name of the game. It’s an incredible thing when a cast becomes a family. It’s probably what I miss most about being a part of it. Theatre, like most art forms, is hard work. It takes time to develop, and having a cast and crew of dedicated people makes it all the more worthwhile.
I have to admit it was an inspiring thing to see the cast and crew of “Godspell” working together to present their work of art. A community group of actors, directors and musicians came together not for a profit but simply to share their creativity with others.
And isn’t that something beautiful in our world of pre-recorded, programmed perfection? The lights went out Friday night on the cast of “Godspell,” and audience members held up cellphones to light the way for the rest of the show.
That’s what theatre has that is unique to our modern entertainment. There’s something very human about it because it can be a little messy. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned, but beautiful performances develop in the chaos.
It’s a bit like life itself.
Ashlee Hendrix is the lead designer for the Lees Summit Journal.